# Document

```Chapter 2
Theoretical Tools of
Public Finance
Jonathan Gruber
Public Finance and Public Policy
Aaron S. Yelowitz - Copyright 2005 &copy; Worth Publishers
Introduction
Theoretical Tools of Public Finance
 Theoretical tools are a set of tools used to
understand economic decision making. They are
primarily graphical and mathematical.
 Empirical tools allow you to examine the theory
with data.
CONSTRAINED UTILITY
MAXIMIZATION
 Constrained utility maximization means that
all decisions are made in order to maximize the
well-being of the individual, subject to his available
resources.
 Utility maximization involves preferences and a budget
constraint.
 One of the key assumptions about preferences is
non-satiation–that “more is preferred to less.”
Constrained Utility Maximization
Preferences and indifference curves
 Figure 1 illustrates some preferences over movies
(on the x-axis) and CDs (on the y-axis).
 Because of non-satiation, bundles A and B are both
inferior to bundle C.
Bundle “C” gives
higher
22 CDs
utility
andthan
2
Bundle “A” gives
either
movies
“A” or “B”
CDs and 1 movie
QCD
(quantity of
CDs)
A
2
C
B
1
0
Figure 1
Bundle “B” gives 1
CD and 2 movies
1
2
Different Bundles of Goods
QM (quantity
of movies)
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Preferences and indifference curves
 A utility function is a mathematical representation
U = f(X1, X2, X3, …)


Where X1, X2, X3 and so on are the goods consumed
by the individual,
And f(•) is some mathematical function.
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Preferences and indifference curves
 One formulation of a utility function is U(QM,QC) =
QMQC, where QM = quantity of movies and QC =
quantity of CDs.
 The combinations {1, 2} (bundle A) and {2,1}
(bundle B) both give 2 “utils.”
 The combination {2, 2} (bundle C) gives 4 “utils.”
 With these preferences, indifferent to A or B.
 Figure 2 illustrates this.
Bundle“C”
“C”gives
gives4 Higher utility as
“A” and “B” Bundle
both
“utils”
utility
is than
on a move toward
give 2 “utils”higher
and and
higher
either indifference
“A” or “B” northeast in the
lie on the same
indifference curve curve
QCD
(quantity of
CDs)
A
C
2
B
1
IC2
IC1
0
Figure 2
1
2
Utility From Different Bundles
QM (quantity
of movies)
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Utility mapping of preferences
 How are indifference curves derived?
 Set utility equal to a constant level and figure out the
bundles of goods that get that utility level.
 For U = QMQC, how would we find the bundles for
the indifference curve associated with 25 utils?



Set 25 = QMQC,
Yields QC = 25/QM,
Or bundles like {1,25}, {1.25,20}, {5,5}, etc.
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Marginal utility
 Marginal utility is the additional increment to
utility from consuming an additional unit of a good.
 Diminishing marginal utility means each
additional unit makes the individual less happy than
the previous unit.
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Marginal utility
 With the utility function given before, U = QMQC, the
marginal utility is:
U
MU Q 
 QC
Q M
M
 Take the partial derivative of the utility function
with respect to QM to get the marginal utility of
movies.
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Marginal utility
 Evaluating the utility function U = (QMQC)1/2, at QC
= 2 allows us to plot a relationship between
marginal utility and movies consumed.
 Figure 3 illustrates this.
Marginal
utility of
movies
First movie gives
utils
Second movie
gives 0.59
Third movie gives
consumption
utils
constant at 2 CDs
1.41
0.59
0.45
MU (QCD=2)
0
Figure 3
1
2
3
Declining Marginal Utility From Movies
QM (quantity
of movies)
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Marginal utility
 Why does diminishing marginal utility make sense?

Most consumers order consumption of the goods
with the highest utility first.
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Marginal rate of substitution
 Marginal rate of substitution—slope of the
indifference curve is called the MRS, and is the rate
at which consumer is willing to trade off the two
goods.
 Returning to the (CDs, movies) example.
 Figure 4 illustrates this.
QCD
(quantity of
CDs)
MRS
Marginal rate
of at bundle C
to Abe larger than
substitutionappears
at bundle
B but smaller than A.
is its slope
MRS at bundle B is
C smaller in absolute terms
than at A.
A
2
B
1
IC2
IC1
0
Figure 4
1
2
QM (quantity
of movies)
Marginal Rate of Substitution At Different Bundles
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Marginal rate of substitution
 MRS is diminishing (in absolute terms) as we move
along an indifference curve.
 This means that Andrea is willing to give up fewer
CD’s to get more movies when she has more movies
(bundle B) than when she has less movies (bundle
A).
 Figure 5 illustrates this.
QCD
(quantity of
CDs)
Willing to give up a lot of
CDs for another movie …
Not willing to give up
very many CDs for
Even less willing to give
another movie
A
2
B
1
D
IC1
0
Figure 5
1
2
3
Marginal Rate of Substitution is Diminishing
QM (quantity
of movies)
Constrained Utility Maximization
Marginal rate of substitution
 Direct relationship between MRS and marginal
utility.
MU M
MRS  
MU C
 MRS shows how the relative marginal utilities evolve
over the indifference curve.
 Straightforward to derive this relationship
graphically, as well.
 Consider the movement from bundle A to bundle
B. Figure 6 illustrates this.
QCD
(quantity of
CDs)
Moving from A to B does
Must
Simply
have
rearrange
MU ΔQthe
=MU
equation
MΔQM
not change utilityC C
Loss
Movement
utility
down
fromonless
isthe
to
because
getinthe
we
relationship
are
between
same
Gain
Movement
in
utility
across
from
more
is
change
CDs
isinMU
CDs,
ΔQ
. Cutilities.
.
MRS
indifference
and
marginal
curve.
CΔQ
C
change
moviesinismovies,
MUMΔQ
ΔQ
M. M.
A
2
B
1
IC1
0
Figure 6
1
2
3
Relationship Between Marginal Utility and MRS
QM (quantity
of movies)
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Budget constraints
 The budget constraint is a mathematical
representation of the combination of goods the
consumer can afford to buy with a given income.
 Assume there is no saving or borrowing.
 In the example, denote:



Y = Income level
PM = Price of one movie
PC = Price of one CD
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Budget constraints
 The expenditure on movies is:
PM Q M
 While the expenditure on CDs is:
PC QC
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Budget constraints
 Thus, the total amount spent is:
PM Q M  PC QC
 This must equal income, because of no saving or
borrowing.
Y  PM Q M  PC QC
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Budget constraints
 This budget constraint is illustrated in the next
figure.
 Figure 7 illustrates this.
QCD
(quantity of
CDs)
3
Her
If Andrea
budget spent
constraint
all her
consists
income
of allon
combinations
CDs, she
could
on the
thisline.
amount.
Andrea would never choose
the interior of the budget set
because of nonsatiation.
2
If Andrea spent all her
income on movies, she
1
0
Figure 7
1
The Budget Constraint
2
3
QM (quantity
of movies)
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Budget constraints
 The slope of the budget constraint is:
PM

PC
 It is thought that government actions can change a
consumer’s budget constraint, but that a consumer’s
preferences are fixed.
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Putting it together: Constrained choice
 What is the highest indifference curve that an
individual can reach, given a budget constraint?
 Preferences tells us what a consumer wants, and the
budget constraint tells us what a consumer can
actually purchase.
 This leads to utility maximization, shown
graphically, in Figure 8.
QCD
(quantity of
CDs)
3
This bundle of goods
This
gives
indifference
the
curve gives much
highest utility, subject higher
to the budget
utility, but is not attainable.
constraint.
This indifference curve is not utilitymaximizing, because there are
bundles that give higher utility.
2
1
0
Figure 8
1
Utility Maximization
2
3
QM (quantity
of movies)
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Putting it together: Constrained choice
 In this figure, the utility maximizing choice occurs
where the indifference curve is tangent to the budget
constraint.
 This implies that the slope of the indifference curve
equals the slope of the budget constraint.
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Putting it together: Constrained choice
 Thus, the marginal rate of substitution equals the
ratio of prices:
MU M
PM
MRS  

MU C
PC
 At the optimum, the ratio of the marginal utilities
equals the ratio of prices. But this is not the only
condition for utility maximization.
 Figure 9 illustrates this.
QCD
(quantity of
CDs)
3
The MRS equals the price ratio at
this bundle, but is unaffordable.
The MRS equals the price ratio at
this bundle, but it wastes resources.
2
1
0
Figure 9
1
2
3
MRS Equal to Price Ratio is Insufficient
QM (quantity
of movies)
Constrained Utility Maximization:
Putting it together: Constrained choice
 Thus, the second condition is that all of the
consumer’s money is spent:
Y  PM Q M  PC QC
 These two conditions are used for utility
maximization.
The Effects of Price Changes:
Substitution and income effects
 Consider a typical price change in our framework:
 Increase the price of movies, PM.
 This rotates the budget constraint inward along the
x-axis.
 Figure 10 illustrates this.
QCD
(quantity of
CDs)
3
Andrea
Increase
is worse
in PM rotates
off, andthe
consumes
budget
constraint
lessinward
movies.
on x-axis.
2
1
0
Figure 10
1
2
Increase in the Price of Movies
3
QM (quantity
of movies)
The Effects of Price Changes:
Substitution and income effects
 A change in price consists of two effects:
 Substitution effect–change in consumption due to
change in relative prices, holding utility constant.
 Income effect–change in consumption due to
feeling “poorer” after price increase.
 Figure 11 illustrates this.
QCD
(quantity of
CDs)
3
Movement from one indifference
curve to the other is the income effect.
Movement along the indifference
curve is the substitution effect
2
1
Decline
Decline
in QMindue
QMtodue
income
to substitution
effect
effect
0
Figure 11
1
2
3
QM (quantity
of movies)
Illustration of Income and Substitution Effects
PUTTING THE TOOLS TO WORK
TANF and labor supply among single mothers
 TANF is “Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families.”
 Cash welfare for poor families, mainly single
mothers.

For example, in New Mexico, family of three
 Assume the two “goods” in utility maximization
problem are leisure and food consumption.
 Whatever time is not devoted to leisure is spent
working and earning money.
PUTTING THE TOOLS TO WORK
Identifying the budget constraint
 What does the budget constraint look like?
 Assume the person can work up to 2000 hours per
year, at a wage rate of \$10 per hour, and that TANF
is not yet in place.
 Price of food is \$1 per unit.
PUTTING THE TOOLS TO WORK
Identifying the budget constraint
 The “price” of one hour of leisure is the hourly
wage rate.
 Creates a direct tradeoff between leisure and food:
each hour of work brings her 10 units of food.
 Figure 12 illustrates this.
Food
consumption
(QF)
20,000
Food is a more “typical” good.
500 hours of leisure, 15,000 units of
Thus, there are various
food
combinations of (L,F) consumed …
The
This
slope
ofto
the
budget
kind of
constraint
budget
1,000
hours
ofthe
leisure,
10,000
units
constraint iswe
–w/P
have
or
seen
-10.previously.
ofF,food
15,000
1,500 hours
ofisleisure,
5,000
Leisure
a “good”
justunits
as movies
food is preferred to less.
were …ofmore
10,000
5,000
0
Figure 12
500
1000
1500
2000
Leisure is a “good” and labor is a “bad.”
Leisure
(hours)
PUTTING THE TOOLS TO WORK
The effect of TANF on the budget constraint
 Now, let’s introduce TANF into the framework.
TANF has two key features:
 Benefit guarantee, G – amount that a recipient with
\$0 earnings gets.

Benefit reduction rate, J – rate at which benefit
guarantee falls as earnings increases.
PUTTING THE TOOLS TO WORK
The effect of TANF on the budget constraint
 Assume that benefit guarantee, G, is \$5,000 per year.
 Assume the benefit reduction rate, J, is 50%.
 Figure 13 illustrates this.
Food
consumption
(QF)
20,000
Slope on this section of the budget
constraint is -10.
At 1,000 hours of work, TANF benefits
The benefit reduction rate of 50%
fall to zero.
Slope onthe
thisguarantee
section ofas
theearnings
budget
reduces
constraint
isrepresents
-5. that a new
increase.
Green
area
\$5000 guarantee
means
recipient
bundles
from TANF.
could
now consume
(2000,5000).
15,000
10,000
5,000
0
Figure 13
500
1,000
1,500
2,000
Leisure
(hours)
Introduce Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
PUTTING THE TOOLS TO WORK
The effect of changes in the benefit guarantee
 One possible “policy experiment” is reducing the
benefit guarantee level G.
 What happens when G falls from \$5,000 to \$3,000,
holding all other parameters constant?
 Figure 14 illustrates this.
Food
consumption
(QF)
20,000
The earnings level where
TANF ends falls from \$10,000
Lowering the guarantee
to \$6,000.
reduces the initial non-working
bundle to (2000,3000).
15,000
10,000
6,000
5,000
3,000
0
Figure 14
500
1,000 1,400 1,500
Lower the Benefit Guarantee
2,000
Leisure
(hours)
PUTTING THE TOOLS TO WORK
How large will the labor supply response be?
 What is the expected labor supply response to such
a policy change?
 It depends on where the single mother initially was
on the budget constraint.
 If she initially earned less than \$6,000 per year, the
policy change involves only an income effect, not a
substitution effect.
 Figure 15 illustrates this.
Food
consumption
(QF)
20,000
The effective
rate does
If leisurewage
is a normal
good, the
not change
foreffect
this person.
income
would reduce
leisure (increase work).
15,000
10,000
6,000
5,000
3,000
0
Figure 15
500
1,000 1,400
2,000
Policy Change Generates Income Effect Only
Leisure
(hours)
PUTTING THE TOOLS TO WORK
How large will the labor supply response be?
 If she initially earned between \$6,000 and \$10,000
per year, the policy change involves both an income
and substitution effect.
 The substitution and income effects go in the same
direction.
 Figure 16 illustrates this.
Food
consumption
(QF)
20,000
The change
effectiveinwage
The
laborrate
supply
changes
thisincome
person.
involvesfor
both
and
substitution effects.
15,000
10,000
6,000
5,000
3,000
0
Figure 16
500
1,000 1,400
2,000
Leisure
(hours)
Both Income and Substitution Effects From Policy
PUTTING THE TOOLS TO WORK
How large will the labor supply response be?
 Economic theory clearly suggests that such a benefit
reduction will increase labor supply, but does not
speak to the magnitude of the response.
 For example, some welfare recipients who were not
initially working continue to choose not to work.
 Figure 17 illustrates this.
Food
consumption
(QF)
20,000
15,000
This person was initially out of
the labortoforce.
She continues
stay out of
the labor force, even with the
benefits reduction.
10,000
6,000
5,000
3,000
0
Figure 17
500
1,000 1,400
2,000
No Labor Supply Response To Policy Change
Leisure
(hours)
PUTTING THE TOOLS TO WORK
How large will the labor supply response be?
 The actual magnitude of the labor supply response
therefore depends on the preferences of various
welfare recipients.

To the extent the preferences are more like the first
two cases, the larger the labor supply response.
 Thus, theory alone cannot say whether this policy
change will increase labor supply, or by how much.

Must analyze available data on single mothers to
figure out the magnitude.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
 Welfare economics is the study of the
determinants of well-being, or welfare, in society.
It depends on:
 Determinants of social efficiency, or size of the
economic “pie.”
 Redistribution.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Demand curves
 Demand curve is the relationship between the
price of a good and the quantity demanded.
 Derive demand curve from utility maximization
problem, as shown in Figure 18.
QCD
(quantity of
CDs)
Raising P
more gives another
M even
Initial
utility-maximizing
point gives
(PM,QM)Raising
combination
withanother
even less
(PM,QM)
M gives
oneP(P
M,QM) combination.
movies with
demanded.
combination
fewer movies demanded.
QM,3 QM,2 QM,1
Figure 18
Increase in the Price of Movies
QM (quantity
of movies)
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Demand curves
 This gives various (PM,QM) combinations that can be
mapped into price/quantity space.
 This gives us the demand curve for movies.
 Figure 19 illustrates this.
PM
PM,3
Various
of
At
a high combinations
price for
pointsdemanded
like these create
movies,
QM,3 the
demand curve.
At a somewhat lower price
for movies, demanded QM,2
At an even lower price for
movies, demanded QM,1
PM,2
PM,1
Demand
curve for
movies
QM,3
Figure 19
QM,2
QM,1
Deriving the Demand Curve for Movies
QM
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Elasticity of demand
 A key feature of demand analysis is the elasticity
of demand. It is defined as:
QD
D 
P
QD
P
 That is, the percent change in quantity demanded
divided by the percent change in price.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Elasticity of demand
 For example, an increase in the price of movies
from \$8 to \$12 is a 50% rise in price.
 If the number of movies purchased fell from 6 to 4,
there is an associated 33% reduction in quantity
demanded.

The demand elasticity is therefore -0.67.
 Demand elasticities features:
 Typically negative number.
 Not constant along the demand curve (for a linear
demand curve).
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Elasticity of demand
 For a vertical demand curve

Elasticity of demand is zero—quantity does not
change as price goes up or down.
Perfectly inelastic
 For a horizontal demand curve


Elasticity of demand is negative infinity—quantity
changes infinitely for even a small change in price.
Perfectly elastic
 Figure 20 illustrates this.

PM
PM,3
With this inelastic demand
Inelastic demand
curve, choose QM,2
curve for With
movies
this elastic
demand of the price.
regardless
curve, choose any quantity
at price PM,2.
PM,2
Elastic demand
curve for movies
PM,1
QM,3
Figure 20
QM,2
QM,1
Perfectly Elastic and Perfectly Inelastic Demand
QM
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Elasticity of demand
 More generally, an elasticity divides the percent
change in a dependent variable by the percent
change in an independent variable:

Y
X
Y
X
 For example, Y is often the quantity demanded or
supplied, while X might be own-price, cross-price,
or income.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Supply curves
 Supply curve is the relationship between the price
of a good and the quantity supplied.

Derive supply curve from profit maximization
problem.
 The firm’s production function measures the
impact of a firm’s input use on output levels.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Supply curves
 Assume two inputs, labor (L) and capital (K). Firm’s
production function for movies is, in general:
QM  f  LM , K M 
 That is, the quantity of movies produced is related
to the amount of labor and capital devoted to movie
production.
 Similarly, there would be a production function for
CDs.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Supply curves
 One specific production function is:
QM  L M K M
 From a production function like this, we can figure
out the marginal productivity of an input by taking the
derivative with respect to it.
Equilibrium and Social Welfare:
Supply curves
 For example, the marginal productivity of labor is:
Q M 1 K M

0
LM 2 LM
 This is the partial derivative of Q with respect to L.
The marginal product is positive.
Equilibrium and Social Welfare:
Supply curves
 Taking the second derivative yields:
 2QM
1 KM


0
2
3
4 LM
LM
 This second derivative is negative, meaning that the
production function features diminishing
marginal productivity.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Supply curves
 Diminishing marginal productivity means that
holding all other inputs constant, increasing the level
of one input (such as labor) yields less and less
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Supply curves
 The total costs of production are given by:
TC  rK  wL
 In this case, r and w are the input prices of capital
and labor, respectively.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Supply curves
 If we assume capital is fixed in the short-run, the
cost function becomes:
TC  rK  wL
 Thus, only labor can be varied in the short run. The
marginal cost is the incremental cost of producing
one more unit of Q, or the product of the wage rate
and amount of labor used to produce that unit.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Supply curves
 Diminishing marginal productivity implies rising
marginal costs.
 Since each additional unit, Q, means calling forth
less and less productive labor at the same wage rate,
costs of production rise.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Supply curves
 Profit maximization means maximizing the
difference between total revenue and total costs.
 This occurs at the quantity where marginal
revenue equals marginal costs.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Equilibrium
 In a perfectly competitive market, the marginal
revenue is the market price. Thus, the firm
produces until:

P = MC.
 Thus, the MC curve is the supply curve.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Equilibrium
 In equilibrium, we horizontally sum individual demand
curves to get aggregate demand.
 We also horizontally sum individual supply curves to
get aggregate supply.
 Competitive equilibrium represents the point at
which both consumers and suppliers are satisfied
with the price/quantity combination.
 Figure 21 illustrates this.
PM
Intersection of supply and
demand is equilibrium.
Supply
curve of
movies
PM,3
PM,2
PM,1
Demand
curve for
movies
QM,3
Figure 21
QM,2
QM,1
Equilibrium with Supply and Demand
QM
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Social efficiency
 Measuring social efficiency is computing the potential
size of the economic pie. It represents the net gain
from trade to consumers and producers.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Social efficiency
 Consumer surplus is the benefit that consumers
derive from a good, beyond what they paid for it.
 Each point on the demand curve represents a
“willingness-to-pay” for that quantity.
 Figure 22 illustrates this.
PM
The Yet
The
consumer’s
the
willingness-to-pay
actual“surplus”
price paid
from
for
is
Supply
the first
the first
unit
much
unit
is this
is
lower.
very
trapezoid.
high.
curve of
The There
willingness
is stilltosurplus,
pay for the
movies
The
consumer’s
“surplus”
from
because
second unit
the is
price
a bitislower.
lower.
the next unit is this trapezoid.
The
The consumer
total consumer
surplus
surplus
at Q* is
is
the area this
between
triangle.
the demand
curve and market price.
P*
Demand
curve for
movies
0
Figure 22
1
2
Q*
Deriving Consumer Surplus
QM
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Social efficiency
 Consumer surplus is determined by market price
and the elasticity of demand:


With inelastic demand, demand curve is more
vertical, so surplus is higher.
With elastic demand, surplus is lower.
 Figure 23 illustrates this.
PM
Supply
curve of
movies
Consumer surplus is larger
when demand curve is
more inelastic.
P*
Demand
curve for
movies
0
Figure 23
1
2
Q*
Consumer Surplus and Inelastic Demand
QM
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Social efficiency
 Producer surplus is the benefit derived by
producers from the sale of a unit above and beyond
their cost of producing it.
 Each point on the supply curve represents the
marginal cost of producing it.
 Figure 24 illustrates this.
PM
Supply
curve of
movies
The producers
total producer’s
surplus
surplus
at Q* is
the area this
between
triangle.
the demand
curve and market price.
P*
There
The
marginal
is producer
costsurplus,
for from
the
The
producer’s
“surplus”
because
second
unit
the
price
a bit
ishigher.
higher.
the
next unit
is is
this
trapezoid.
The producer’s
TheYet
marginal
the actual
“surplus”
costprice
forfrom
the
the first
first
unitunit
isisthis
is
much
very
trapezoid.
higher.
low.
0
Figure 24
1
2
Producer Surplus
Q*
Demand
curve for
movies
QM
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Social efficiency
 Similar to consumer surplus, producer surplus is
determined by market price and the elasticity of
supply:


With inelastic supply, supply curve is more vertical,
so producer surplus is higher.
With elastic supply, producer surplus is lower.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Social efficiency
 The total social surplus, also known as “social
efficiency,” is the sum of the consumer’s and
producer’s surplus.
 Figure 25 illustrates this.
PM
The
Providing
surplus the
from
first
theunit
next
Supply
gives
unit isathe
great
difference
deal of
curve of
between
surplus
the
to demand
“society.”and
movies
supply curves.
Social
The area
efficiency
between
is maximized
the supplyat
*, and iscurves
and Q
demand
the sum
from
of the
zero to
consumer
Q* represents
and producer
the surplus.
surplus.
P*
This area represents the
social surplus from
producing the first unit.
0
Figure 25
1
Social Surplus
Q*
Demand
curve for
movies
QM
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Competitive equilibrium maximizes social efficiency
 The First Fundamental Theorem of Welfare
Economics states that the competitive equilibrium,
where supply equals demand, maximizes social
efficiency.
 Any quantity other than Q* reduces social efficiency,
or the size of the “economic pie.”
 Consider restricting the price of the good to P&acute;&lt;P*.
 Figure 26 illustrates this.
PM
This triangle represents
lost surplus to society,
loss.”
The With
socialsuch
surplus
a price
from Q’
is restriction,
this area, consisting
the quantity
of a
&acute;, and there
falls
larger
to Q
consumer
andis
smaller
excess
producer
demand.
surplus.
P*
Supply
curve of
movies
P&acute;
Demand
curve for
movies
Q&acute;
Figure 26
Q*
Deadweight Loss from a Price Floor
QM
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
Competitive equilibrium maximizes social efficiency
 A policy like price controls creates deadweight
loss, the reduction in social efficiency by restricting
quantity below the competitive equilibrium.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
The role of equity
 Societies usually care not only about how much
surplus there is, but also about how it is distributed
among the population.
 Social welfare is determined by both criteria.
 The Second Fundamental Theorem of Welfare
Economics states that society can attain any
efficient outcome by a suitable redistribution of
 In reality, society often faces an equity-efficiency
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
The role of equity
 Society’s tradeoffs of equity and efficiency are
models with a Social Welfare Function.
 This maps individual utilities into an overall social
utility function.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
The role of equity
 The utilitarian social welfare function is:
SWF   U i
i
 The utilities of all individuals are given equal weight.
 Implies that government should transfer from
person 1 to person 2 as long as person 2’s gain is
bigger than person 1’s loss in utility.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
The role of equity
 Utilitarian SWF is defined in terms of utility, not
dollars.
 Society not indifferent between giving \$1 of income
to rich and poor; rather indifferent between one util
to rich and one util to poor.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
The role of equity
 Utilitarian SWF is maximized when the marginal
utilities of everyone are equal:
MU1  MU 2 ...  MU i
 Thus, society should redistribute from rich to poor
if the marginal utility of the next dollar is higher to
the poor person than to the rich person.
EQUILIBRIUM AND SOCIAL WELFARE
The role of equity
 The Rawlsian social welfare function is:
SWF  minU1 , U 2 ,..., U N 
 Societal welfare is maximized by maximizing the
well-being of the worst-off person in society.
 Generally suggests more redistribution than the
utilitarian SWF.
WELFARE IMPLICATIONS OF BENEFIT
REDUCTIONS: TANF continued
 Efficiency and equity considerations in introducing
or cutting TANF benefits.
 In a typical labor supply/labor demand framework,
these changes shift the labor supply curve for single
parents.
 Figure 27 illustrates this.
Wage
Equilibrium
Inefficient,with
but generous
entails
substantial
TANF
redistribution.
benefit.
Entails
Equilibrium
some
redistribution
with TANF
w3
Labor
supply
Labor
supply
and some
benefit
inefficiency.
cut.
Equilibrium with no
government intervention,
Labor
supply
w2
w1
Labor
demand
H3
Figure 27
H2
H1
Hours
worked
Market Equilibrium with Labor Supply and Demand
WELFARE IMPLICATIONS OF BENEFIT
REDUCTIONS: TANF continued
 Different policies involve different deadweight loss
triangles, but also different levels of redistribution
for the poor.
 SWF helps determine the right policy for society.
Recap of Theoretical Tools
 Utility maximization
 Labor supply example
 Efficiency
 Social welfare functions
```